Offshoring and the impact on customer service
Last weekend the British arm of banking giant Santander became the latest company to announce plans to return its international contact centres to the UK. The aim is to improve customer service, after previous poor performance was highlighted by the industry ombudsman.
This is obviously good news for the 500 new UK staff taken on to handle the estimated 1.5 million calls that will now be ‘onshored’ from India. However companies need to be careful – in many cases whether a contact centre is onshore or offshored is not relevant to the levels of customer service that people actually receive. Other factors can be much more influential.
From our work with companies across multiple industries we’ve outlined five key elements that underpin the highest levels of contact centre performance:
1 Arm your staff with the right information
Give your agents access to consistent, up to date information so they can answer questions quickly. By using a single knowledgebase across all channels you can improve quality and drive efficiency.
2 Make it easy for customers to contact you
Customers want to be able to get in touch through a growing number of channels – the web, email and social media as well as the phone and post. Allow them to easily find and use their channel of choice.
3 Join up your channels
Customers often start a query or complaint on one channel and then switch to another. Link up different channels to make sure that this information follows the customer. So, if a complaint starts on email and is followed by a phone call your agent has all the facts and the customer history at their fingertips in order to better help solve the issue.
4 Use technology to make customer service smarter
Automate as much as you can to support agents when answering questions. Whether it is technology that analyses email queries and suggests the most likely response or web self-service systems that let customers get immediate, online answers putting in place the right technology can save time and improve customer service.
5 Listen to your customers
Customer queries and complaints are actually an invaluable resource – showing what you are doing right (and wrong) and enabling you to understand and change your processes. Make sure you have the systems to capture customer feedback and the ability to act on it to take your business forward.
All of these strategies apply equally whether a contact centre is onshore, offshore, inhouse or outsourced – essentially using smart technology and well-trained agents to deliver the highest levels of customer service.